Greatness Silk Mill, Sevenoaks

A water-powered corn mill in the historic county of Kent, England.

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The silk mill at Greatness was one of a handful in Kent, other notable examples were established at Footscray and Canterbury. A Frenchman by the name of Peter Nouialle established this site at the end of the nineteenth century who eventually took the decision to sell in 1832, when the following advertisement appeared in the Sussex Advertiser, dated 7 May:- ' To Silk Throwsters, Manufacturers etc. To be sold by auction on the premises on the 22 May, 1832. Greatness Mill, near Sevenoaks, Kent, consisting of all the valuable machinery erected by the Proprietor at a cost of several thousand pounds, comprising eighteen winding, tram, swift and drawing engines, calico loom, bratia wheels and stands, bobbins, cane reeds etc., and other utensils necessary for the carrying on the business of a silk throwster on a large scale. The mill work consists of a breast water wheel with iron buckets five feet wide and fifteen in diameter, iron and wood shafts from seven feet to sixteen feet, with lantern, spur, face, fly and motion wheels of every size. The building materials consist of good sound brick work, weather boarding and quartering and other materials of a building capable of accommodating upwards of 500 persons.' Clearly the factory was of some size, although the results of the sale must have been poor, as the mill didn’t continue to produce silk. The buildings themselves were cleared away over a century ago, although the fall for the breastshot wheel can be seen. Peter Nouialle's french style 'chateau' close to his factory was destroyed for the making of a war film in 1940.

Full details

Power source Water
Mill type Watermill
River Tributary to Darent
Mill function Corn mill
Archive ID 8448
Location Sevenoaks
Historic county Kent
Country England, United Kingdom
NGR TQ 534 573
Latitude/longitude 51.29417100, 0.19668110



  • Alan Stoyel, Mills Archive Foundation Trustee


Rob Cumming, May 2016


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